Since its founding in 1970, Cotton Incorporated has supported U.S. growers in making significant gains in yield, while reducing the environmental impact of cotton production in general..
Over the last 40 years, the company’s Agricultural & Environmental Research Division has laid the groundwork for improving grower efficiency --- from reducing pesticide applications and soil erosion, to incorporating new irrigation systems and strategies.
Today, cotton grown in the U.S. is among the most meticulously regulated in the world, with each individual farm reporting its practices and chemical usage to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as well as to regulatory bodies at the regional and state levels.
Cotton growers are making great strides in reducing soil erosion. A variety of farming techniques, such as conservation tillage, and planting winter, or cover crops, have been modernized and improved upon to conserve soil by preventing erosion and by actually helping to encourage soil creation.
The majority of U.S. cotton production is done so without irrigation—just the water of natural rainfall. When irrigation is used, it simply supplements rainfall during dry periods. And new irrigation systems and strategies used today, particularly in the U.S., are substantially more water efficient than in previous decades.
With the world population estimated to increase significantly by the year 2050, maximizing the productivity of agricultural land, while minimizing environmental impact, is crucial. To that end, modern technology has enabled increased efficiency in cotton production.
It is estimated that 40% of the world’s agriculture is lost each year to pests. The safe and efficient use of pesticides is a valuable tool to ensure stable and steady supplies of food and fiber for a growing global population.
Used successfully for more than 30 years, biotechnology has achieved improved, environmental attributes, including benefits such as higher agricultural yields that require less soil, water and other resources, which results in less environmental impact. When applied to agriculture, biotechnology has proven itself to be the key to meeting our future challenges.